Silent auctions can be a critical component to raising funds the night of an event for your organization and are at nearly every fundraising event. Planners, committee members, board members, etc. spend a lot of time asking for items. Once those items are secured, here are a few tips to help you have a successful silent auction:
1. A few days prior to your event, send out an email blast to your database with the items that will be available for bidding the night of the event. This allows your guests (and those who cannot attend) the chance to see what will be there and what they may have an interest in bidding on. It also allows guests who may not be attending to see the items and offer a bid even though they will not be attending.
2. Make sure you display the items in a way that will keep your guests moving and socializing. The key is to have items set up in a way that guests will not find it difficult or annoying to see the items and to place a bid.
3. Keep the tables well lit and decorated. The more visually appealing an item is the more attention it will generate. Make sure to always use attractive posters, bid sheets, displays, etc. Use spotlights to make sure key items are highlighted and that all items are well lit to catch the eye of your attendees.
4. Make a five minute, two minute and one minute announcement before closing the silent auction. This allows guests to get their final bids in before it is too late.
5. Once the auction is closed make sure you have a proper checkout system in place. Guests will immediately want to grab their items and pay so that they can leave. Ensure all volunteers and staff are knowledgeable about the check out process. Each item should have a number to make it easier when finding an item. To allow you to collect all items give yourself a 15 minute window period from the time the silent auction closes to when the silent auction checkout opens. During this time all items should be packaged and ready for pick up.